How to Find the Right Welding Certification Program near Waterford Michigan
Locating the ideal welder technical school near Waterford MI is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Waterford MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Waterford MI employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Trade School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Waterford MI area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Waterford MI for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Waterford MI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Waterford MI employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Waterford MI welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Waterford MI home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Waterford MI, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Waterford MI?
Perhaps you live in the Waterford Michigan area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Waterford Township, Michigan
In 1818, Oliver Williams selected land in Oakland County which he purchased for two dollars an acre. Archibald Phillips and Alpheus Williams purchased 161.40 acres (653,200 m2) in what later became Waterford Village.
In 1819, Alpheus Williams and Archibald Phillips continued on to where the Clinton River crossed the old Saginaw Trail (now known as Dixie Highway). They settled at the site of the present Waterford Village. Here the first house of Waterford Village was built by Alpheus Williams on the north bank of the river. Archibald Phillips built his home across from the south corner where Andersonville Road meets Dixie Highway.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 35.3 square miles (91 km2), of which 31.3 square miles (81 km2) is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2), or 11.22%, is water.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Waterford MI area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Trade School Waterford MI
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Waterford MI.
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